Search engines and other online service providers: liability for unauthorised use of trade marks in keywords in China

Trends are emerging in relation to the liability of search engines, and other service providers such as trading platforms and social networks, for trade mark infringement.

As a result of widespread and rapidly increasing use of the internet in the People’s Republic of China (with over 500 million users, China has the largest internet-using population in the world), there is already a great deal of jurisprudence relating to intellectual property infringement and the internet.

Although decisions of the courts in China do not establish binding precedents, trends are emerging in relation to the liability of search engines, and othere service providers such as trading platforms and social networks, for trade mark infringement.

Landy Jiang, Dominic Edmondson and Nick Redfearn review the relevant law and recent case decisions, and looks at some of the steps that are being taken by service providers to reduce the risk of infringement.

This article was first published by The In-House Lawyer, July/August 2012.